When Arizona Cardinals receiver DeAndre Hopkins was suspended six games by the NFL for violating the league's performance-enhancing drug policy, the wideout responded he was shocked by the positive test results and vowed to fight the ban.
Speaking to reporters at a charity softball game Wednesday for the first time since the suspension was handed down, Hopkins reiterated his stance.
"We're still doing some research right now," he said, via Cameron Cox of KPNX. "Hopefully, before the season starts, maybe we can get the games down a little bit. But no, it wasn't on me. I'm a natural. I'm pretty much a naturopathic kind of person, man. And what it was, it was called Ostarine, and there was 0.1% of it found in my system. If you know what that is, it's contamination, not something directly taken.
"I don't take any supplements, I've never took supplements, I barely take vitamins. So for something like that to happen to me, obviously, I was shocked. But my team and I, we're still trying to figure out what's going on."
A reduction is unlikely at this stage, as suspensions are usually announced after the appeals process is spent. And league rules make it clear players maintain the responsibility for what goes in their bodies, regardless of how it happened.
Hopkins missed seven games in 2021 due to injury and said he's on the mend.
"I've been good. Recovering. Healing," Hopkins added. "Unfortunately, I got to miss six games. But you know, it is what it is. The team will be ready, and I'll be ready when I'm up."
One of the top receivers in the NFL, the 30-year-old is a vital cog in the Cardinals' operation. Kyler Murray averaged 2.6 more pass yards per attempt with Hopkins on the field than without him in 2021, including playoffs, per Next Gen Stats. Murray generated a 133.6 passer rating targeting Hopkins (2nd in NFL, min. 50 targets).
"I'm a competitor so anytime I'm not on the field, for me, it's frustrating," he said. "But that's the NFL. Next man up. I have no doubt in those guys to win those six games until I'm ready."